The perfect little black dress for the festive season

Little black dress


Fashion expert Emma on how to find the perfect little black dress.

Scroll down for Emma’s top picks of this season’s LBDs

Little black dressThat time of year is finally upon us. A time that induces panic, anxiety and sweaty palms in even the most calm and cool headed of us. A time preceded by weeks of sleepless nights, palpitations and dread, our mind occupied by little else.

And though we’re excited, our hearts a-flutter with hope and anticipation for what might come, we (as fully grown, mature, intelligent women) are once again faced with a deep unbridled fear fueled by memories of the what-on-earth-was-I-thinking experiences from years gone by.

That’s right: it’s Christmas Party time again. And we have no idea what to wear. Again.

Oh boy, we’ve all been there. Too short. Too tight. Too much cleavage. Too frumpy. The opportunities to fail in the style stakes are endless. The brief is simple: find a black party dress. So why is it so difficult to get right?

Last minute

Many of us leave it until the very last possible moment and, before we know it, we’re hot, flustered and grumpy in a cramped changing room bursting at the seams with our female counterparts, most of whom are as crotchety and miserable as us.

So there’s little wonder our purchase doesn’t live up to expectations once we get it home and take the tag off. After spending our lunch hour queueing for 20 minutes to get a curtained cubicle where we could at least stand privately, aghast at our naked self in bad lighting, all we really wanted to do was make sure we didn’t look overly ludicrous in any way and get as far away from the sauna room as possible. Fast.

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With this in mind, I’ve created a list of this season’s best festive little black dresses. There’s a Santa’s sackful of different styles addressing a multitude of worries that are sure to suit the most awkward of wearers, ensuring complete confidence whether you’re pulling from the rack in the shop or ordering online.

Top tips

Before you go boldly back into the dressing room there are just a few points to remember…

  • Take your measurements with a tape measure. You might think you know your dress size but each brand tends to be slightly different and it could mean the difference between buying something that is too big, or worse, too small.
  • Don’t buy a dress in a smaller size thinking you’ll slim into it. If you don’t lose the pounds in time, you’re left with a dress you can’t fit into and low self esteem to boot. Much better to buy closer to the occasion, knowing your exact measurements and finding a dress that will enhance and flatter your shape.
  • The correct underwear is paramount. Get this right and the dress will fall into place. ladies, if you haven’t heard of Spanx by now…
  • You don’t have to be head to toe in sequins to be festive. If all out sparkle is your thing, great. But if not there are plenty of ways to make you little black dress more festive. Accessorise with red, forest green or metallics for a truly Christmassy feel.
  • Fall in love with your dress and you will wear it again and again. It’s nice to wear something new of course, but an investment piece will see you through years of festivities without you having to bother with all the stress of finding another new outfit. Each year you can experiment with different coloured accessories, shoes and bags to reinvent your outfit keeping it fresh and current.
  • Comfort is just as importance as style. If you aren’t comfortable in your outfit you will not be able to enjoy your big night.
  • Don’t panic buy. This is when you’re all but guaranteed to have an unsuccessful shopping mission. Do your research before you buy. Spending a little time now could save your hours – and money – later on. Remember, failure to prepare is to prepare to fail!
  • Most importantly…ENJOY YOURSELF. After all, it is only one night of your life. Enjoying yourself with friends, family or colleagues is what it’s all about.
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Recommended little black dresses


1) This dress is perfect – long sleeves for those colder evenings or if you are unhappy with your arms. A gathered waist enhances what you have and disguises a tummy.

Velvet, as well as being on trend this season, is a perennial classic.

2) This Victoria Beckham dress may seem like an unlikely choice but it is the perfect little black dress when you need it to multitask from the office straight to the party. Swap your flats or boots for a pair of heels, and you’re off.

It’s the perfect shape for those who would prefer not to have their curves hugged, and the contrast of colours is just the right amount of festive, as opposed to a bauble that has fallen off the tree and wrapped itself around you.

3) I adore this dress. Strictly speaking it’s a little blue dress, but it is just so pretty and festive that I couldn’t resist. Once again, with the right underwear, this dress is going to flatter most figures.

If you are at all concerned about your arms, why not add a stylish pashmina or, for that extra wow factor, a pair of long evening gloves would look suitably at home with this 20s flapper-style dress.

4) If you’re unsure how to dress your neck or are slightly wary of all things glitzy, this dress is all about understated glamour.

You just don’t need to do anything more that pop it on and slip into some heels. This little black dress is simplicity itself.

5) A classic remains a classic for one reason only…it will make you shine every single time you wear it. Such is the 50s style of this jacquard prom dress.

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If you have any concerns with your hip/thigh area, this style of dress will make you feel glamourous yet comfortable and showcase all those other wonderful assets instead.


6) If you’re looking for sophisticated sexy then this is the LBD for you. Wear with a bolero to avoid the shivers in the cold.

Wishing you a stress free search for your LBD and a very merry Christmas!

See Emma’s favourite Little black dress

Read more fashion pieces:

The Classic Capsule Wardrobe

About Emma Louise Jackson

I’m a mother, wife, daughter, sister, auntie and friend. I have an eternal love for clothes and I truly believe that they can change how a person feels about their self. The right wardrobe is much like Cinderella's fairy godmother in that it can enable a person to transform from feeling down and invisible to feeling confident, comfortable, classy and much, much more. If you don't feel good about how you look, you definitely won't feel good about other aspects of your life either. Never underestimate the power of dressing well. My own personal style is what I like to call Modern Vintage. I love how ladies of a bygone era knew how to dress for any occasion, whatever their shape, size or age. There is more information and television shows based around fashion than ever before, yet in some ways, the art of dressing well has been lost on many. We almost have too much choice and advice that it's become an information overload. I'm here to help solve the fashion dilemmas for the woman who wasn't born yesterday and I implore you to get in touch and let me know what wardrobe problems you face and what you would like to see discussed in future articles. I am absolutely thrilled to be joining the totally4women team and cannot wait to engage with the wonderful, intelligent audience of this fabulous site.